With the continuing relaxation of rules surrounding COVID, we have put in place a Plan for Re-Opening for water activities from the start of the 2022 season.
And, given the speed of change and the regularity of changes of rules across the country, we also have back up Plan B, Plan C, etc in our back pocket – just in case we need to modify arrangements. But, all these Plans (except Plan Z) does involve options for Scouts participating in water activities in one way or another this year.
You will recall that close to the end of last summer, it did once again become possible for us to re-open, but it was so close to the end of our normal operating season that we decided to continue to focus on some staff training, boat preparation, and working alongside the Longcraig Explorers programme. And then, back came a new pile of restrictions, over the winter months, which would have possibly meant we would have had to close again had we been open!
As we take our tentative steps out of lockdown, we have had to introduce a few small changes in how we will be operating this year – all as a result of the circumstances of the past two years of pandemics. Some of these may impact on your choices of times or activities, so we ask that you exercise some flexibility in the same way as we are having to introduce a new level of flexibility in order that we can re-open safely. A key feature will be enhanced Risk Assessments – we already do these very thoroughly for our activities on the water, but we now must add assessments of the buildings, facilities, the instructors, and other staff and of course the Groups participating in our activities.
We’ve set out our updated operational processes in more detail below. Please read the following notes carefully so you understand how we have agreed that we need to operate in 2022. Click below for more.
And here are two ways in which we can help get the best access to activities despite the limitations we have had to put in place:
For any Group which cannot get to the minimum number of 12 this year, we are offering separate opportunities once a month of an ‘Activity open Day’ where groups from 1 to 10 people can simply book in as individuals and come along to Longcraig. These will all be one day of a weekend; we’ll have details of the dates next month. Participants will be offered activities as available based upon the numbers in total attending, availability of appropriate equipment and staff, and of course the weather on the day. You’ll be able to book for one session (a morning or an afternoon) or for the whole day. We’ll have more details about this next month.
The first two of these events will occur on Saturday 28th May and Sunday 26th June.
Obviously, our need to put some limitations on numbers attending and on session availability, may mean disappointment initially that Groups are unable to get the sessions they want to fit into their programme. Well, there’s only so many days in May and June! But there are even more days in July and August, and often, it’s warmer then too. Longcraig will be open throughout the summer as we always are, so look to see if you can take an activity booking during those months rather than earlier in the year. It’s quite likely that rules may be relaxed further by then, it might be warmer, it might be sunny!
If you don’t wish to make use of the facilities for whatever reason, or you don’t like the views of the three bridges, or you don’t like tides – we can bring our activities to you!
If you have plans for a camp this year, or an away day somewhere, so long as there is some suitable and accessible water nearby, we can bring activities to you with the boats, the people, and the know-how!
These events do take a bit of planning and might involve additional costs, so in the first instance please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can work out what’s possible.
Over the past few weeks, we have now had our new alarm system fully installed, along with some external CCTV cameras so we can more effectively keep an eye on all our assets and buildings. You won’t notice any difference at all to the appearance of the Centre, but it does let us rest more soundly at night in the knowledge that the buildings are safe and secure!
As a second stage of security improvements, we’ve also taken delivery of new fencing and gates, which will replace the old wooden fencing round our boat park, and will also provided greater security to this are outside the building itself. The main benefit this will bring (to users) is that some of the smaller sailing boats can be left in a better state of readiness to enable a quicker preparation time for sailing activities, and thus more time spent actually DOING the activity instead of just preparing to do it.
From its beginnings with coastal lookouts to today’s hi-tech national network of coordination centres, from small localised beginnings to international players – one thing has stayed the same for two centuries – Her Majesty’s Coastguard seeks to search, to rescue and to save.
Two hundred years of saving lives along the UK coast and at sea, as well as coordinating rescues for those in distress in international waters, is being marked this year as HM Coastguard celebrates its milestone anniversary.
It was on 15 January 1822, that HM Coastguard was formally brought into existence and has been working to keep people safe at the coast and sea ever since.
Over the past two centuries, HM Coastguard has gone from strength to strength. In 2022, coastguard operations centres coordinate responses to emergency situations at the coast calling on 310 Coastguard Rescue Teams – made up of 3500 dedicated volunteers – and using 10 search and rescue helicopter bases.
Although the way in which they operate has changed beyond recognition in the last two centuries, HM Coastguard continues to look to the future. Innovation has always been a driver – whether it be pushing forward state of the art technology in the national network of maritime rescue coordination centres or leading the way in rope, water and mud techniques.
The service continues to adapt to changes – in the last few years providing mutual aid and support during events and incidents to other emergency partners. During the pandemic, coastguards supported the NHS, attended the G7 and COP26 in 2021 and are called in to support during national emergencies including flooding or supplying water to stranded drivers.
HM Coastguard provides training to search and rescue authorities around the world and also shares knowledge on a mutual basis with others. A key player with the International Maritime Organization, HM Coastguard’s input and insight around the obligations of SOLAS (The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) is sought and valued.
And with technology ever evolving, the service will continue to strive to be at the forefront of innovation to carry out its life-saving work.
Content of this article derived from H M Government website bulletin
We offer our congratulations to HM Coastguard in general across the UK, and in particular to our local branch close to us in Queensferry, and to all the other locations along the south East Coast of Scotland within the boundaries of S E Region.